Angelica archangelica is also known as Angelica, and is not to be confused with the herb Angelica sinensis, which is also known as Dong Quai.

Angelica is bitter but also warming to the system (1). Many people who have chronic digestive issues tend to run cold, so this warming herb may help improve the ‘digestive fire’ (thus enhancing digestion) discussed in some Eastern ways of healing, while the bitterness can promote proper liver function, which is another important part of digestion, detoxification, hormonal health, and emotional well-being.

It may help reduce gas and belching/burping, and it stimulates gastric and pancreatic secretions (1), which can aid the digestive processes. Angelica helps promote healthy actions of the stomach, is an antimicrobial, and is an antispasmodic (1) (reduce spasms within the body). It has also been used as a sedative and cramp reliever (2).

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The combination of Angelica archangelica essential oil, Phenyl ethyl alcohol (PEA), and α- terpineol as a botanical preservative was tested against molds, aflatoxin contamination and oxidative deterioration of walnut samples.  The blend reduced growth of aflatoxigenic strain Aspergillus flavus NKDW-7 and aflatoxin B1 production, and also showed notable antioxidant potential (4).

Some Indian and Chinese systems of medicine have used Angelica for nervous disorders and cerebral diseases.  Angelica has demonstrated anxiolytic activity (5), thus implying it may help reduce anxiety.

Coumarin-containing plants may cause thinning of the blood, thus potentially interacting with blood-thinning medications. When combined with UV-A light, the furanocoumarins may be phototoxic (1), so particularly use caution if your skin is very sensitive to the sun.  It may be wise to avoid long periods of sun exposure (3) while taking Angelica.  Potential rashes and sun sensitivity is why this herb is to be used sparingly and for short periods of time (2).  It can be viewed differently when used orally in smaller amounts commonly found in foods.  It is native to North and Baltic Sea coasts and has been used in cooking, as well as a flavoring agent in beverages and liquers (3).

References

  1. Dr. Sharol Marie Tilgner. Herbal Medicine from the Heart.  2nd ed. Wise Acres LLC; 2009.
  2. Editors of Prevention Health Books.  Prevention’s Best: Healing herbs. Rodale/St. Martin’s Paperbacks; 2000.
  3. Natural Medicines Database.  Angelica archangelica. Updated May 12, 2023.  Accessed January 30, 2024. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=281
  4. Prakash B, Singh P, Goni R, et al. Efficacy of Angelica archangelica essential oil, phenyl ethyl alcohol and α- terpineol against isolated molds from walnut and their antiaflatoxigenic and antioxidant activity. J Food Sci Technol. 2015;52(4):2220-8. doi: 10.1007/s13197-014-1278-x. Epub 2014 Feb 16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25829603/
  5. Kumar D, Bhat Z. Anti-anxiety Activity of Methanolic Extracts of Different Parts of Angelica archangelica Linn. J Tradit Complement Med. 2012;2(3):235-41. doi: 10.1016/s2225-4110(16)30105-5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3942901/

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